Mingei International Museum

Pin Icon
1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101
|
Open:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Tues, Wed, Sat & Sun)
10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Thurs & Fri)
Housing a collection of artwork depicting daily life across different cultures, Mingei International Museum is a must-see museum for San Diego art lovers.
Jess Tucker
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Mingei International Museum
Making Art Accessible
What You’ll See
Bundle & Save
Collections and Exhibits
Parking
Helpful Tips
Stay Nearby

Highlights

Exhibits / Attractions
Tickets
Parking
Tips
Exhibits / Attractions
Tickets
Parking
Tips

See What Art Can Teach Us at the Mingei International Museum

Fish Trap at the Mingei International MuseumArt at the Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum is one of many Balboa Park museums featuring art collections, but is unique in its blending of art, culture, and history.

The Mingei Art Museum at Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama earns its place as a favorite attraction for art lovers in San Diego, alongside other notable locations like the San Diego Museum of Art and Museum of Photographic Arts.

With a focus on education and making art accessible, our team at Go Visit San Diego really loves this ‘sometimes over looked’ museum, but we really think it’s worth a visit!

The museum takes its name from the concept of mingei, or “art of the people.” Many of the works in the collection represent different aspects of the daily lives of the people who made them. They are sourced from different countries around the world, depicting a variety of cultural practices and social movements.

From ancient craftspeople to modern and contemporary artists, the Mingei International Museum is more than just an art showcase; it’s a testament to human history.

Outside the Mingei International Museum
Outside the Mingei International Museum

Buying Tickets and How to Get a Discount

Access to the Commons Level of the museum is free for all guests, while admission to the Gallery Level requires buying a ticket. Children 17 and under can visit the museum for free with proof of their age.

Entrance to the Mingei International Museum
Entrance to the Mingei International Museum

Save More with the Go City San Diego Pass

Want access to the Mingei International Museum plus tons of other famous San Diego attractions like the Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego Central and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown)? The all-inclusive version of the Go City San Diego pass is a must-have for the avid traveler, especially when you use our discount code GVSD5OFF to save on your purchase!

Discounted access to the Mingei International Museum is also available with the Go City San Diego Explorer pass.

Local Tips
Take your Time
When visiting the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California, be sure to take your time exploring each exhibit. The museum showcases a diverse collection of folk art, craft, and design from around the world, so there's plenty to see and learn.

What You’ll See During Your Visit

Artifacts at the Mingei International Museum
Artifacts at the Mingei International Museum

Mingei International Museum was first established in 1978 and opened with its first exhibit Dolls and Folk Toys of the World. Since then, it has continued to highlight the way art has played a role in the daily lives of people throughout history.

Rather than galleries full of paintings by renowned artists, many of the works on display at Mingei Museum are more practical pieces made by artists whose names have been lost to time. Urns, woven baskets, vases, blankets, and even furniture pieces are recontextualized from simple utilitarian items to works of art just as worthy of admiration as any revered painting.

The permanent collection housed at the museum includes over 25,000 different works of art which have been sourced from over 100 different countries. Selections from this extensive gallery are put on display for guests, with displays rotating periodically to showcase different parts of the collection.

A Bead Globe at the Mingei International Museum
A Bead Globe at the Mingei International Museum

Recent Renovations

In 2021, the Mingei International Museum underwent renovations to expand the property and further the museum’s goals of outreach and education. These renovations included reopening the building’s upper terraces with outdoor seating and creating a Commons Level viewing gallery that’s accessible to the public for free.

Other improvements made during this transformation were a new Education Center and the La Atalaya Theater capable of housing lectures and showing films.

Artifacts Restaurant at the Mingei International Museum
Artifacts Restaurant at the Mingei International Museum

Cafes and Other Dining Options

There are two eateries inside the museum. For light bites, head to Craft Cafe, which serves coffee, tea, and grab-and-go breakfast and brunch.

The other restaurant, Artifact, is a sit-down dining option with both indoor and outdoor seating. Artifact is open for lunch Tuesdays through Sundays, and remains open for dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings.

Art Lovers Bundle & SAVE!
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Museum of Art
Experience art from around the world at San Diego's oldest art institution! Visitors enjoy 19th and 20th Century American paintings, in addition to Spanish, Italian and Asian artwork. Don't miss the sculpture garden and floral displays!
Buy Now
Local Tips
What kind of deals does the Go City San Diego pass offer?

The Go City San Diego pass gives visitors the ability to save up to 55% on attraction admissions.

Combine our exclusive 5% discount to save even more and consider the All-Inclusive pass to maximize your savings. Plus the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Viewing the Collections and Exhibits at Mingei International Museum

Woven Baskets at the Mingei International Museum
Woven Baskets at the Mingei International Museum

In accordance with its mission to highlight mingei from around the world, the exhibits at Mingei International Museum include artwork from a diverse range of cultures and time periods. Each exhibit offers a look into a different way of life for people around the globe, both past and present.

While the museum has a large collection of assorted works of art, the exhibits on display rotate every few months. The museum’s official website has the most up-to-date information on which exhibits are currently being shown.

Each time you visit, there’s something new to see, so be sure to check back often!

Woven Chairs at the Mingei International Museum
Woven Chairs at the Mingei International Museum

Needles and Grass

Needles and Grass includes a selection of woven artworks, such as baskets and mats. The centerpiece of the collection is a series of works created with needles from Torrey pines, a species of tree native to San Diego that can be seen at Torrey Pines State Park.

Necklaces at the Mingei International Museum
Necklaces at the Mingei International Museum

A World of Beads

An exhibit focusing on the different ways beadwork has been applied in various global cultures, the works on display in A World of Beads range from single beads to full pieces.

Woven Craft at the Mingei International Museum
Woven Craft at the Mingei International Museum

Over/Under

The Over/Under exhibit contains 75 different woven craft works like rugs, clothing, bags, and jewelry. Some of the art was created by San Diego locals, while other pieces have been sourced from the Philippines, Japan, and even Ancient Egypt.

Community Spotlight: Persian Place

The Community Spotlight exhibit is a collaboration with the nonprofit Persian Place. It features the work of seven different female artists, all themed around depicting the Persian epic poem Shahnameh.

Blue Gold

Blue Gold is named for the high value of indigo, particularly during the 1700s. The exhibit looks at how this rare dye was harvested and created, while also educating about the chemistry, botany, and other sciences that were involved in creating the pigment.

La Frontera at the Mingei International Museum
La Frontera at the Mingei International Museum

La Frontera

More than just a gallery of artwork, the La Frontera exhibit tells the story of the U.S.-Mexico border through a display of 85 different pieces of jewelry, many of which were crafted by artists who have lived within the border region.

Pysanky

Take a peek into Ukrainian history and culture at the Pysanky exhibit. Named after Ukrainian decorative egg art, this exhibit aims to shed light on the region’s cultural traditions through sharing one of its most unique art forms.

Shirin Towfiq: Threaded Journeys

Threaded Journeys is an exhibit presented by Shirin Towfiq, a second-generation Iranian refugee whose work is inspired by aspects of her Persian heritage. It conveys the region’s history of folk and craft art with a modern interpretation.

Cups to Connections

Highlighting the tradition of hospitality and the longstanding human practice of sharing a drink, the Cups to Connections exhibit showcases various cups, jugs, glassware, pottery, and other drinkware from different cultures.

Encouraging a Love of Art in Kids

Tapestry at the Mingei International Museum
Tapestry at the Mingei International Museum

At Mingei International Museum, a love of art is made accessible to all ages. Not only are all kids 17 and under invited to visit the museum for free (with kids under 14 accompanied by a paying adult), but there are also multiple educational programs designed for younger visitors.

Woven Rugs at the Mingei International Museum
Woven Rugs at the Mingei International Museum

Mini Mingei

Mini Mingei is a program for kids ages 2-5. Children and their families are invited to create arts and crafts at the museum, listen to stories, and see samples of art from the museum’s collection.

Sign at the Mingei International Museum
Sign at the Mingei International Museum

Family Sunday

Family Sunday is an all-ages event held once a month that’s completely free for kids and their parents. Each month features a different art project that’s simple and fun for kids, like making flower crowns, mixed media self-portraits, and clay pinch pots.

ChIMES at Mingei

Mingei has an ongoing partnership with the San Diego Youth Symphony’s ChIMES (Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles) program. Kids are invited to try their hand at making music and get some hands-on practice flexing their artistic skills in this collaborative event.

Featured Hotel
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Paradise Point Resort & Spa
Bayfront
Bayfront
Beaches
Beaches
Families
Families
4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
At Paradise Point Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, you can unwind in an island setting. This resort has all the amenities you would expect as well as beautiful rooms.
Prices Starting at $259
Check Availability

Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking
Discount Museum Tickets
Save up to 50% with Go City San Diego

Improve Your Visit With These Tips

Where Can You Park?

While the museum does not have its own private parking lot, visitors can park anywhere in Balboa Park for free. The nearest parking lot is just down the street off Pan American E Road, across from Alcázar Garden.

How Do You Get to the Mingei International Museum?

Mingei International Museum is at 1439 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101. It’s a short walk from other Balboa Park landmarks like the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the Museum of Us, and the Old Globe Theater.

Which Hotel to Book?

You can’t do and see it all in San Diego in just one day, especially if you want to make the most of an All-inclusive Go City San Diego pass. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, consider one of the following.

The Westgate Hotel

The Westgate Hotel is an upscale hotel with French design influences that has spacious and elegant rooms.

Hilton San Diego Mission Valley

Complete with amenities including free WiFi and a pool, Hilton San Diego Mission Valley’s ideal location makes it a great choice for the active vacationer.

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

Overlooking the Embarcadero Marina, staying at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is a bayside experience you won’t soon forget.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa

Experience ultimate relaxation with quality spa treatments and classy on-site dining at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
62°F / 76°F
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
66°F / 81°F
Sunny in July
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Discount Museum Tickets
Save up to 50% with Go City San Diego

Stay Nearby

The Westgate Hotel
Near Cruise Port
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
The Westgate Hotel
from $169 / night
View Hotel
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Convention Center
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
from $195 / night
View Hotel
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
Family Friendly
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
from $128 / night
View Hotel
DoubleTree by Hilton Mission Valley
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
DoubleTree by Hilton Mission Valley
from $98 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>
Tours & Adventures
San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Natural History Museum
Discounts Available
Learn More
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Looking for Something Different?
More Balboa Park Museums